Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Sunday that the United States would fail to provoke ethnic strife in the Islamic republic, after several days of protests over a cartoon that insulted the country's largest minority.
"Trying to provoke ethnic and religious unrest is the last desperate shot by enemies," said Khamenei in a televised speech broadcast by state-run television.
"Enemies of the Iranian nation have earlier announced that they have allocated some money for this purpose," he said, referring to a Bush administration request to Congress for US $75 million to promote democracy in Iran.
Earlier Sunday, hundreds of Azeris staged a demonstration in front of the Iranian parliament to protest the cartoon, which was published by a state-owned newspaper two weeks ago.
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